Product Review: City Thearical SHoW DMX

SHoW DMX from City Theatrical is the newest generation of frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) wireless DMX, incorporating many features to make life easier. The 2.4GHz unlicensed area of the spectrum has become crowded, and many shows now have numerous systems operating show-critical data in the same area. The lighting, sound, and automation departments may all have wireless signals that simply must get through for the show to operate properly. To exist in the professional entertainment world, wireless DMX systems require verifiable high data fidelity, but they also must prevent any other show-critical wireless data from being disrupted. City Theatrical designed SHoW DMX specifically to address these two needs. The system has already started to rack up accolades, winning a Best Debuting Product of the Year in the lighting category at LDI 2007 and a 2007-2008 Live Design Lighting Product of the Year Award.

To read more about the SHoW DMX from City Theatrical, visit their website at

Our Review of the SHoW DMX

Setting up The SHoW DMX – SHoW DMX contains a wide range of features to assure easy setup and usage in any venue.  It has a simple default Plug and Play mode that makes setting up the Transmitter and Receiver relatively quickly.  Both the reviver and transmitter come with quick setup guides.  Setting up both took next to no time with very little interface with each box.  all that was required to setup both the receiver and transmitter was to make sure that both were on the same show ID.  After that, the fixture started to receive DMX and worked as if a cable had been ran to it directly.

While there certainly is more advanced setup options, which are easily configurable through the wireless setup.  It’s as if you are setting up a wireless router for a computer network.  One thing that is mentioned and required is that the Transmitter needs to be placed above any obstructive obsticals, such as audiences and so forth with can easily be accomplished.  While the receiver is able to be built into props and sets and does not require line-of-sight to the transmitter.

The Physical Devices – Both the transmitter and receiver have some weight behind them.  Both are well constructed and weight about 3-4 pounds each.  Not a huge issue in most cases.  Both come with a standard radio antenna that can be directed in any position depending on the orientation of the devices.

The Transmitter has a mini power connector that plugs into any standard edison outlet and requires 120v.  While the Receiver has a standard IEC cable connector.  The type that most desktop computers use.  While the IEC cable may not be a huge issue, it is a little cumbersome in some situations.

Both devices had an LED display n the front and 5 buttons to work with the file structure of the device.  While the buttons are not labeled, it is still easy to navigate through each devices file menu.  Referring back to the operation manual happen only a couple of times.

Signal Strength and Technology – All of the SHoW DMX product line uses Patent pending 2.4GHz Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum radios, optimized for broadcasting DMX.  This means that data lose and dropping is next to nothing.  With in the advanced configuration setup, the devices are able to pump up the power behind the signal almost eliminating data lose or collision with other wireless signals and devices.

City Theatrical has done extensive testing of the devices in a wide range of situations and configurations.  To see the lab results, visit CTI’s lab results here.